General Information and Background

Title IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act, signed by the President on July 26, 1990, amended Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, by adding a new section on telecommunications services for deaf or hard of hearing persons and/or persons with speech and language disorders. Generally, the new section provided that common carriers must provide telephone services to deaf or hard of hearing persons and/or persons with speech and language disorders that are functionally equivalent to services provided to hearing individuals.

Telecommunications Relay Service commonly known as TRS provides a relay service for deaf, hard of hearing and/or persons with speech and language disorders enabling them to communicate via telephone with the assistance of a trained Communications Assistant (CA). The first mandated statewide relay service was implemented in California in 1987. Today, as mandated by the FCC, all of the states provide Telecommunications Relay Service.

In September 1989, the Pennsylvania Telephone Association (PTA or Association) transmitted a White Paper Summary of Findings to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC or Commission) relative to the provision of TRS. It stated that the PTA recognized the needs of the hard of hearing community and that it supported the establishment of a statewide relay system. In October 1989, the PUC responded to the PTA agreeing with PTAs establishment of a relay system, and requested that the Association formulate and submit a definitive plan in the form of a Petition to Establish a Pennsylvania Relay System.

The PTA presented a Request for Proposal (RFP) to the Commission in February 1990, which was reviewed and accepted. Formal offers to provide the contemplated TRS were submitted by four prospective service providers, which were reviewed by a Bid Committee who identified AT&T as presenting the best bid. On May 29, 1990 , the Commission issued an Opinion and Order at Docket No. M-00900239, granting the Petition of the PTA for the purpose of establishing a Pennsylvania Relay Service for the Deaf, and Hearing and/or Speech Impaired Community. The May 29, 1990 Order also granted the Application of AT&T (Docket No. A-310125) for a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to provide the relay service necessary for delivering TRS in Pennsylvania. AT&T has remained the TRS provider in Pennsylvania.

The May 29, 1990 Order further concluded that a uniform surcharge based upon total access lines would be the most appropriate funding mechanism to recover charges associated with the operation of a statewide telecommunications relay center. The Commission established a monthly end-user billing surcharge (TRS surcharge) based on access lines which is collected by Pennsylvania s Incumbent Local Exchange Carriers (ILEC) and Competitive Local Exchange Carriers (CLEC). The TRS surcharge is imposed on both residential and business lines, and is recalculated annually by the Commission. (If necessary, the Commission may revise the surcharge more frequently than annually.) The calculation uses the following formula:

TRS Annual Operating Cost/Total Access Lines x 1/12 = Surcharge per access line per month.

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SAMPLE LANGUAGE USED IN CLEC TARIFF: 

Pennsylvania Telecommunications Relay Service


The Pennsylvania Telecommunications Relay Service (PA TRS) is a relay telecommunication service for the deaf, hard of hearing, hearing and/or speech disabled population of the Commonwealth. The PA TRS is mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to provide functionally equivalent
telephone services that are available to other U.S. citizens, at no additional cost. The PA TRS includes both traditional relay (devices such as Teletypewriters (TTY) and Telecommunication Devices for the Deaf (TDD)) and captioned-telephone voice-carry-over relay services (captioned telephone). These relay services permit telephone communications between individuals with hearing and/or speech disabilities, who must use a TTY, TDD or captioned telephone, with individuals having normal hearing and speech. Additionally, 711 abbreviated dialing is available to access the PA TRS.  The Company’s switching equipment is arranged to translate the “711” calls to the assigned toll-free number, (888) 895-1197, in order to route calls to the Telecommunications Relay Service Provider, in accordance with Commission’s Order entered on February 4, 2000 at Docket No. M-00900239.

Surcharge

In addition to the charges provided in this tariff, a surcharge will apply to all residence and business access lines served by this Company. (Access lines are those lines extending from the telephone company’s central office to the end-user’s premises.)  This surcharge applies regardless of whether or not the access line uses the PA TRS.

The surcharge serves as the funding vehicle for the operation of the PA TRS, Telecommunications Device Distribution Program and the Print Media Access Service Program and shall be calculated by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (the Commission). The Commission shall compute the PA TRS
surcharge each year and notify local exchange carriers of the surcharge amount to be applied for the twelve-month period commencing with July 1 of each year. 

The Commission may revise the surcharge more frequently than annually at its discretion.

Tariff revisions will be filed whenever the Commission calculates a new surcharge amount and notifies the Company.

The following surcharge rates apply to all customer bills issued on July 1, 2014.

Per residence access line, per month                                                                      $0.08

Per business access line, per month                                                                        $0.08

The TRS surcharge will be applied to Centrex lines using the following Centrex Equivalent Lines Table on a per Centrex customer basis.

Number of Centrex Lines

Equivalent Lines

1

1

2

2

3

3

4 to 6

4

7 to 10

5

11 to 15

6

16 to 21

7

22 to 28

8

29 to 36

9

37 to 45

10

46 to 54

11

55 to 64

12

65 to 75

13

76 to 86

14

87 to 98

15

99 to 111

16

112 to 125

17

126 to 139

18

140 to 155

19

156 to 171

20

172 to 189

21

190 to 207

22

208 to 225

23

226 to 243

24

244 to 262

25

263 to 281

26

282 to 300

27

 

 

Each additional 18 Centrex lines

1

Rates

Local calls will be charged at the applicable local flat rate or local measured service rate.  Toll calls will be charged at the applicable toll rate found in the selected long distance provider’s rate schedule or current tariff.  If the customer has not chosen a long distance carrier the default carrier’s rates will apply for the toll calls

Order - Current Commission Order on the TRS surcharge. Docket Number M-2014-2399129 from the Public Meeting of May 22, 2014.